Japanese eager to fight for Ukraine

Dozens of men in Japan have responded to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call to join the international legion, Reuters reports.

The area near the TV tower in Kyiv was damaged during the Russian attack. March 1, 2022.
Photo: Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry / Reuters / Forum

One of them, Keiichi Kurogi, a 39-year-old office worker from southwestern Japan, said he called the Ukrainian embassy Monday after seeing a request for volunteers.

“When I saw pictures of elderly men and women in Ukraine holding weapons and going to the front, I felt I should go instead of them,” he said.

However, the embassy rejected Kurogi’s offer because he lacked the necessary military experience.

As of Tuesday, the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reported that 70 Japanese men — including 50 former members of Japan’s self-defense forces and two French Foreign Legion veterans — had applied to volunteer, citing a Tokyo-based volunteer campaign.

A spokesman for the Ukrainian embassy acknowledged receiving calls from people who “want to fight for Ukraine” but declined to provide more details.

On February 27, Volodymyr Zelensky said that he was forming an international legion in Ukraine for foreigners who were willing to fight on the side of the Ukrainians. Zelensky noted that the legion would be the primary confirmation of international support, reports the Georgian public broadcaster.

“The Ukrainian government offers all foreigners who want to join the resistance to the Russian occupiers and protect the world’s security, to come to our country and join the ranks of the territorial defense forces. A separate unit is being created out of foreigners — the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine. This will be the main confirmation of your support,” Zelensky said.